OK thanks very much for the help. I'm stuck again, unfortunately.
I can not access Safe Mode with Command Prompt. I tried that earlier, it was one of the things I'd tried and mentioned in my previous post. WHen I tried that, it resulted in the same Windows XP blue screen (2 shades of blue with the Windows XP logo on screen). That is always as far as I get in any of the Safe Mode choices. It stops there and won't go further.
Now about the other option, trying it from the Recovery Console or PE environment...
(I don't know what PE environment means, btw)
On the Microsoft page you sent me the link for, it says this:
Warning Do not use the procedure that is described in this article if your computer has an OEM-installed operating system. The system hive on OEM installations creates passwords and user accounts that did not exist previously. If you use the procedure that is described in this article, you may not be able to log back into the recovery console to restore the original registry hives.
This is a Dell laptop and the Windows XP was installed by Dell. Does that mean I should not try this option?
If I should try it, that article gives 2 different ways: 1. Guided Help and 2. Manual Steps
I have gone ahead in Manual Steps, and am stuck at Step 5:
5. At the Recovery Console command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after you type each line:
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak
copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default
The first set of copy commands worked ok. The second set of delete commands seemed to work ok (there was no reply from the computer that the files were deleted, as there was when the other files copied - not sure if that means anything). When I started the next set of copying, the first one for 'system' did not work. I got a message 'The system cannot find the file specified.' The rest of the files did copy successfully, and I saw a message confirming it. WHen I next hit Exit to reboot (as according to the instructions), I eventually got a message on black screen that 'Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system'
If I understand correctly, it seems as if the system file in the repair directory is not there for some reason, so can't be copied to replace the previous system file we deleted, is that right?
Is there still some hope in this situation? What are my chances?
THanks again for the help with this one. Fingers still crossed.
Edited by Billermo, 28 July 2007 - 01:26 PM.